A Silver Lining in the Showroom

One of the worst problems at General Motors in recent years has been the bland similarity of its products, which seem to have been stamped by the same cookie cutter. At a new-model preview several years ago, a Cadillac engineer was asked his opinion of the main difference between the look-alike Chevrolet Cavalier and Cadillac Cimarron. "About $5,000," he said dismissively. Many 1980s-era models were also prosaic, underpowered and poorly executed. But a handful of new models demonstrate that GM divisions, when well motivated and organized, can build distinctive, high-quality products. A sampler:

Cadillac Seville. This luxury sedan looks like a...

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